Center for Service and Learning Lecture: Elee Wood, “Public Scholar: Crossing the Streams of Community and University”

The Engaged Scholars Roundtable is a new program sponsored by the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning that showcases scholarly practice and innovations that honor tenets of Ernest Boyer’s concept of the Scholarship of Engagement.   To this end, the Engaged Scholars Roundtable is intended to:

  1. Build awareness of and engagement with the tenets of engaged scholarship by bringing publically disseminated work and developing research and scholarship conducted by IUPUI’s engaged scholars to the awareness of local campus and community audiences.

  2. Nurture interdisciplinary and community-campus collaboration and learning.

  3. Build capacity for the growth and development of engaged scholarship as a dimension of faculty work.

  4. Promote a sense of community among IUPUI’s engaged faculty and staff.

Format:  Roundtable sessions last for 1 hour over the lunch hour. In most cases, sessions will consist of a short 30 minute presentation followed by 20 -25 minutes of open discussion/dialogue.  The CSL plans to host 6-8 roundtables per academic year.

February’s Roundtable:

  • Presenter:    Dr. Elee Wood, Public Scholar of Museums, Families, and Learning, Associate Professor of Museum Studies and Teacher Education
  • Title: Public Scholar–Crossing the Streams of Community and University
  • When: Friday, February 15, 2013 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 p
  • Where: Hine Hall (the old University Place Conference Center), IP 226

Register for this event.

Abstract:      The Public Scholar role at IUPUI represents a commitment to civic engagement through joint appointments between the university and a community partner. Following Boyer (1990), this embedded, dual position represents a reconsideration of the work of a civically engaged university professor. Developing civic engagement and public scholarship research practices involves re-positioning and re-imagining the social interactions between “community” and “university” (Bridger & Alter, 2006; Ellison & Eatman, 2008; Ostrander, 2004). The relationships built between public scholar and community organizations are founded on both the intellectual and emotional characteristics of the faculty member as well as the overarching goals, mission and purpose of the institution (Colbert & Wharton-Michael, 2006). This synergy paves the way for more meaningful action, but it requires constant negotiation of interests, facilitation of dialogue, asking difficult questions, and fostering continued participation on the behalf of all the players (Bridger & Alter). Fundamentally the work is about being in the group, and apart from the group, focusing on the cultural norms and realities that comprise the interactions of people, place, and purpose. As Boyte and Kari (1996) acknowledge, civic engagement and public action fall along a spectrum of activities ranging from the deliberative, to problem solving, to the insurgent. In this paper, I trace the prospects and realities of these approaches to public scholarship through my research and collaboration with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to extend and expand family learning experiences, as well as build meaningful learning opportunities for students.